1960

On 25 May, receives a $1,500 award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

In July, covers the Democratic National Convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles for Esquire, and publishes “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” an admiring portrait of J.F.K., in the November issue. The essay is generally seen as one of foundation stones of the New Journalism.

In September, the Mailers move to an apartment at 250 West 94th Street.

On 20 November, after a party in this apartment where he planned to announce his candidacy for mayor of New York, a drunken Mailer stabs Adele with a penknife after an early morning argument, and is committed for psychiatric observation to the violent ward of Bellevue Hospital for 17 days, 22 November to 8 December.

Barbara and Norman (1960)

in Days | 124 Words

60.11

“Birdland Head Drops Charge against Mailer.” Article by unidentified writer. New York Post, 20 December, 9. Mailer is quoted briefly in this account over a bar tab dispute. See 60.10, 61.20, 91.38, and “The Shadow of the Crime: A Word from the Author” in 98.7.

60.10h

“Of Time and the Rebel.” Article by unidentified writer. Time, 5 December, 16-17. Summary article that includes comments Mailer made to Mike Wallace on is TV program two days after the stabbing. “The knife to a juvenile delinquent is very meaningful. You see. It’s his sword—his manhood.”

60.10g

“Norman Mailer Sent to Bellevue over His Protest in Wife Knifing.” Article by Jack Roth. New York Times, 23 November, 26. Short article that includes a quote from the medical report on Mailer being “both homicidal and suicidal. His admission to a hospital is urgently advised.”

60.10f

“Norman Mailer Sent to Bellevue.” Article by Frank Kelly. New York Herald Tribune, 23 November, 1, 9. Long report on Mailer being sent by a magistrate to a psychiatric ward, and his earlier appearance that day on a WNTA-TV program, where he was interviewed by Mike Wallace about his intention to run for mayor. A partial list of those attending the party on 20 November at the Mailers’ apartment at 250 West 94th Street is given, as well as a longer version of his court statement. Protesting being sent to Bellevue, he said, “If this happens, for the rest of my life my work will be considered as the work of a man with a disordered mind.” Mailer was released after 17 days.

60.10e

“Hold Norman Mailer in Stabbing of Wife.” Article by Leeds Moberley. New York Daily News, 23 November. Brief report on Mailer’s arrest. He was quoted: “I refuse to answer your questions—I won’t answer anything you ask me.” He demanded that a call be put in to his attorney. Adele Mailer told doctors that she had fallen on a broken bottle.

60.10d

“Norman Mailer to Undergo Test in Wife Stabbing.” New York Herald Post wire service article, 22 November. Diagnosed as having “an acute paranoid breakdown with delusional thinking” by Dr. Conrad Rosenberg, Mailer challenged the report as “gratuitous and presumptuous. My pride is that as a sane man I can explore areas of experience that other men are afraid of.” He told the magistrate, “I insist I am sane.” The police found a two and half inch pocket knife in his pocket at the time of arrest.

60.10c

“Norman Mailer Arrested Here in Stabbing of Wife at Party.” Article by unidentified writer. New York Times, 22 November, 25. Report of Mailer’s arrest at 10:30 p.m. on 21 November at University Hospital on Second Avenue in Manhattan where his wife Adele went for major surgery after he stabbed her with a penknife at approximately 5 a.m. on 20 November. See 13.2, 276-94.

60.10b

“Norman Mailer Leads 300 on Tour of Own Odd World.” Article by unidentified writer. Providence Journal, 18 November. A second report on Mailer’s appearance at Brown on 17 November. The audience was described as “bewildered, amused,” especially after he announced, “I’m running for mayor of New York next year.”

60.10a

“Mailer Directs Group Tour of Mailer World.” Article by Richard Holbrooke. Brown Daily Herald, 18 November. Report on Mailer’s 17 November talk at Brown University on Literature, politics, metaphysics and sex. He said, “I come to you to bring the existentialist word,” and commented on Fitzgerald, Beckett and James Farrell.